When Yoga Can’t Fix Everything

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“A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety.” -Aesop

We all have heard it, “Yoga is the cure-all for any and everything.” I will be the first to admit, that yoga does indeed help with a lot. It helps with stress, posture, improves cognitive function, helps with sleep, makes you aware of your body, and so on and so forth. It isn’t just the postures, but the mind set that is created while partaking in the practice. However… no one system is perfect. Every individual is different, and sometimes yoga just doesn’t cut it.

I am not bashing yoga in any way, but from my own personal experience, sometimes an hour on that mat just does not make me calm, cool, and collected. Sometimes I feel worse off after a class than I did before. I have to be aware of my body and how I feel, not let my emotions get in the way of my postures and use them as fuel to move through it, and all that breath work stirs up hidden emotions and issues I have been holding onto. Have you ever seen someone cry in the middle of class while doing certain poses? I have and I have also been that person. I have fallen apart on the mat all due to anxiety, fear, hate, pain, and sadness.

The best way to put it is I am like a glass window, people read me really well with what is going on in my head and I am not one to hide my emotions very well at all. Granted, it takes a lot for me to have a full on meltdown or cry in public, but none-the-less, my face tells all. So, what happens when the anxiety monster comes creeping in and I am trying to bang out even a few minutes of practice? Sometimes, nothing…and I can let it go. Other times, I turn into a giant mess and just curl up in a ball mid practice. I guess it is a part of life and we all have something to work on, but lately it has been awful. It is harder for me to pay attention to my body and stay focused for a full practice than it is for me to go for a long walk…so I go for a walk.

It is not that I am ignoring my practice, but actually listening to what my body needs and wants. Some days, I want to do a deep asana practice with lots of bends and folds, other days I only want to go slow and do a few easy postures, and other days I just don’t fool with it at all and just try to do something else that is good for me. Yes, the emotions are still there and I try my best to deal with them, but I do think it is rather foolish for someone to think that yoga is the ONLY thing that can help out. I have met people in the past who have scoffed at my outlook and said, “You should practice more, you aren’t serious, you’re missing something, why would you say such a thing?” Truth is, my practice might indeed be deeper than theirs for that reason, but I am not one to judge. We all have our own path in life, so I am just going to do what feels right for me and let the haters sip on that hater-aid.

So, what is your body telling you? Namaste.

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Embracing Uncertainty

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“I know nothing with certainty, but the site of the stars makes me dream.” –Van Gogh

As I mentioned in my last post, I am planning on moving to New York. For me, this is a huge step because I have never lived anywhere else other than the small town of Winston-Salem. Granted, I have traveled a lot and I get asked all the time why I am still here. But you know what? I am ready for this…mostly. I still have a lot to plan and have to hammer out all the details in the process. The good news is I have the support emotionally to be able to do this. I think the biggest challenge for me is…well, myself.

We all do it, we hold ourselves back. Sometimes more often than others. Why? It is the whole, “I have no idea what is going to happen, so I am just going to play it safe and keep all my I’s dotted and T’s crossed.” This whole year has basically turned my view point on its head. From changing jobs, meeting new people, new relationships, traveling like crazy, the way I eat, and deciding what to do with myself I basically have no other choice but to let go and embrace the unknown. I can’t play it safe anymore, I just cannot do it. I am meant for greener pastures and have the ability to do whatever I choose to do. I don’t care what anyone else has to say, I have to believe it for myself. So, I am making it a point to actually do that.

When you embrace what scares you the most, then you have no choice but to surrender and let go. For me, it is embracing failure. If I don’t try, then I don’t fail, but in the end I did fail because I never tried at all. I want to be a yoga instructor and guru. I want to help people though the ancient practice of Yoga and Ayurveda. I want to travel the world doing what I love and I can and will do it, dammit. If your dreams don’t scare you, then they are not big enough…or so the saying goes. So, if I fail to do that then that is perfectly okay. I am sure that something better will arise if it does not happen, but I am going after my dreams regardless.

So, ask yourself, what scares you the most and why? What are you holding yourself back from? Make it a point to recognize it, accept that it is fear, and then take the steps to let it go. After all, most fears are not based in reality and it is pointless to hold onto them. Namaste.

 

Inner Wisdom

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“He listened yet more intently to what was within him, to the past, to see whether that voice of memory truly foretelling the future would not speak to him again, revealing the present to him as well as the past.”
― Stefan Zweig, Journey Into the Past

Meditation is hard. It’s an honest fact of life that when you try and sit still for however long, your mind will wander about and then you have to constantly remind yourself to come back to the breath and inner peace instead of following your thought patterns that you have created. There, I said it. I am human and sometimes when I sit on a cushion or I am in shavasana my mind will go in a million different directions and I am just beyond frazzled. They say that is when we need to practice the most. If you have time, then practice for 10 minutes. If you don’t have time, then practice for an hour. Or so they say…

Lately, I have taken to listening to my body and see what it really needs instead of forcing it into something. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I do need a good kick in the tush to do my meditation or yoga practice. As of right now though, looking within to what I need is helping me tremendously. Sometimes I will practice for over an hour, sometimes for 10 minutes, and sometimes I just will go with the flow of what I need and do short spurts.  Everyday is always something new and we are forever changing. Because of that, sometimes our practice needs to change and we should be more fluid.

We all need to go inside ourselves and see what we truly need to nourish our souls because the answers are never outside, but always within. Why? Because we are all connected to everyone and everything on this planet. Why do you think we have such similar DNA to chimps, dandelions, and other things? We are all made of the same stuff. We feel we should look outside of ourselves for answers, that we need guidance or approval of others.  The things is we don’t NEED it in the original sense. More so, it is a good indicator or reminder that we are on the right path so we are able to realize something within ourselves. Our egos trick us into thinking we know nothing, when in reality, we know a lot more than we give ourselves credit for. We just need to go within.

So, instead of beating yourself up because your meditation practice, yoga practice, or whatnot is not how it normally is, just relax. ask your body what it needs and you’ll be able to figure it out and better practice being present. Namaste.

Breakfast of Champions

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I went to a cafe that advertised breakfast anytime, so I ordered French Toast during the Rennaisance.” –Stephen Write

As we all know, breakfast is really good for you. It wakes you up, breaks the hunger from when you are sleeping (thus breaking the fast), and it boosts your metabolism. But what is a vegan suppose to do at breakfast? Most breakfast foods now a days are not vegan friendly. Sure, you could get the vegan bacon that tastes like cardboard or the sausage that resembles a hockey puck (I have had good versions but most are sub par, mind you) or even do a tofu scramble which is a poor substitute for eggs. But what about soup?

Tons of Asian countries have vegan friendly breakfast options that most people are not familiar with. A few of my top favorites are Congee, a rice porridge from china; Nabe; a Japanese breakfast soup; Miso, another Japanese soup; and Golden Milk; a thick Indian drink. There are plenty of others, but what I have been doing lately for breakfast is just making a quick vegan veggie soup in the morning. Sometimes even in the microwave if I don’t have much time in the morning. All you need is some hot water, a miso packet or vegan bullion cube, a few greens and mushrooms or veggies of choice and BAM! Breakfast is served. It’s warm, healthy, and easy.

If you want something crunchy or toothsome then make a piece or 2 of toast from some local bread. I really like Jewish Rye because it has a lower glycemic index and it also has lots of flavor. Plus it tastes really good when you dip it in the broth. Maybe it’s just me, but I always feel better when I have something warm for breakfast and it makes me feel alive again. So, next time you don’t know what to make in the mornings, try some soup along with your morning cup of coffee or tea. Namaste

Past Lives

Narasimha

 

One who knows that the position reached by the means of analytical study can also be attained by devotional service, and who therefor sees analytical study and devotional service to be on the same level, sees things as they are. — (5:5) Bhagavad Gita

Cleanses make you do funny things, like look back at all your past lives and go, “Ok, what should I learn from this experience?” or even just your past from this life and ask the very same question. It has been a bit rocky, to say the least. Having all this anger and fear come up, trying to let go of things that I NEVER had control of in the first place, disassociating feelings with situations going on now that I saw in the past, and the list goes on and on and on…

Well I am going to tell you about one of my past lives that I feel is a bit important especially now. Since I was very little, I had reoccurring dreams about being a man. I didn’t speak English and it sounded very similar to Hindi, but I was able to understand everything. I would talk to groups of people and they would listen to me and ask me questions about life. I remember practicing yoga and waking up early to do my devotions; mantras and I would meditate. I even remember meditating once and I was able to levitate and when I woke up I said, “I remember how to do that!” and so I did exactly what I did in my dream. I scared my self a little bit doing so, but hey, it happens.

Some of you are probably going to say that I was just around some Hindus and I picked up on a few things and I let my imagination run wild. Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I grew up in a VERY white bread community and didn’t know anything about that stuff at all. I wasn’t ever exposed to it. I just gravitated towards it as I got older and that is when I started putting pieces together. For awhile, I thought they were just dreams, till people started meeting me and telling me about said dreams that I NEVER told anyone about. “Oh, you were my guru in a past life.” “Do you remember levitating? You were an Ascended Master.” “Oh my God I found you again!” At first I was like O_o and asked, “How the hell do you know this shit?” but then I sat with it and continued to put pieces together. I figured with all the people telling me these things then I should PROBABLY look into it.

Last Summer, I had an experience where it all came full circle. I was with my best friend and my boyfriend at the time. We were doing a spiritual cleansing because I felt like I had some sort of attachment to me that was extremely old and really needed to go. My body was in dire pain, everything literally ached to my very core; even my hair hurt. I was trying to breathe through it, but whatever it was, it would not let go. I felt helpless, then all of a sudden I hear this voice boom into me and say, “Do these asanas.” And so I got up with no warning and started doing a series of yoga I had never done before. I heard mantras being sung in my head and all I did was breath deeply and continue until I heard the voice say, “That is enough for now.” The entire time, my body had this wave of warmth run through it and i felt like things were being rearranged. Once I stopped, I sat there in silence and just breathed. after about 10 mins or so, I opened my eyes and both of them looked a bit befuddled.

The next thing I heard was the word Kullu and I went, “hmmm…that sounds familiar. I wonder why?” so I did a search on my phone and BAM! It is a place in India and you know what else? There are devotees to Lord Narasimha there AND it lines up with all of my dreams, previous experiences and what just happened. So basically, I was like…”Oh my God, it all makes sense!!!” Since that point, I have had a lot more experiences and being able to remember things from that life time. I have come to the conclusion that who was talking to me was Narasimha and he stayed with me for about a week after and then just faded out.

So, why am I bring this up now? Well, like I said, cleanses make you reflect on things and I feel I needed to reflect and share this with all of you. I also have been doing comparisons between The Tibetan Book of the Dead and The Bhagavad Gita to help get me through some of these “emotional hangups” I have been having. I am trying to get myself out of this thought tunnel I have been stuck in for quite a bit. I know it is going to take time and lots of effort to do so, but I am fairly confidant I will be ok. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and anything really is possible. I hope you all enjoy and Namaste!

Breath

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“Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts.”–Thich Nhat Hanh

I have been doing a lot of thinking, and usually when I do a lot of thinking I don’t get a lot of sleep because I have to get my mind out on paper. This is one reason why I wrote this. It basically sets a stage of where I am at the moment of life. I have all these thoughts swirling about my head and I am not sure what to do with them, except get them down in some sort of writing. I am sure this is because of all the releasing I have been doing lately, so at least I have become productive. I hope you all enjoy and Namaste!

Breath

by: Michelle Curry

Living, dying, inhale, exhale, breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth making a “haaaa” sound. Bring all of your energy upwards into your body from the roots, your feet, planted firmly into the ground. And with each breath taken in, let the negativity in your heart dispel outwards. This is the concept of death. Let the old die and the new be reborn. Each breath is intention, each exhale is letting go. We have no control over this; it is a natural part of us. Without breath, we do not live, as without the sun, we do not flourish. Holding onto our negativity, no matter how real it seems, is cheating death and only beckons it closer. For the only thing that is dying is the ego, our souls live on. Constantly dancing in the love and light, enlightenment, oneness, peace; this is waking up. We are waking up from the coma we have put ourselves into willingly. We breathe in new life and exhale all the things that we “thought” were important. It is just a mask that our ego hides behind, trying to grab us and eat us alive, like Coronus eating his children. But with each breath comes awareness and with each exhale comes release. It is but a moment in time, much like a breath only lasts as long as a few seconds, fleeting at best. Breathe in through your heart and breathe out though your feet, let in love and let out false truths. Breath in life, breathe out death, inhale, exhale.

Judgement

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And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest
not the beam that is in thine own eye? Matthew 7:3

I am not one to quote the bible, unless someone tries to argue with me from that vantage point. However, there are a few verses that have stuck with me through these years that I am quite fond of. The thing is, as human being we LOVE to judge others for their faults and issues. It makes us feel better about ourselves. The problem with this is we more often than not have our own issues and are in no place to put blame or judgment on others. It’s the whole projection of how we feel about ourselves onto others. It is my biggest pet peeve…EVER!!!

So, why am I bringing this up? I have been facing this quite a bit when I decided I was going to go on to some spiritual forums to get advice on different subject. I know I do not know everything and that is why I am asking questions; to get other peoples view points. The biggest issue with this? When someone starts acting “holier than though” or “more enlightened” than I am, my bullshit meter is just GONE. Absolutely gone and I have no tolerance for that. The reason for that is because those are usually the people that are the most closed off and end up leading “the sheep” with manipulation and being able to pull the fleece over their eyes. They are the ones who turn people away from finding out answers and make people say, “This is bullshit.”

So yes, my journey to find answers has just led to finding more people that are full of crap and I can see through their walls and I intimidate the crap out of them. It is a bit annoying and I know they are everywhere, but I just have no patience for it. I am just hoping that one day people will realize that they need to work through their own bullshit before pointing it out to others. End Rant.